Political Analyst and Observer, Bill Longworth's, Weekly "Eye on City Hall" Columns, as published in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada's Oshawa Central Newspaper

Monday, October 18, 2010

Congratulations Oshawa....You have the Nuttiest Election System in the Country

“Eye on City Hall”

A column of Information, Analysis, Comment, and unfiltered opinion
Bill Longworth, City Hall Reporter
October 18, 2010

Our city motto is “Prepare to be amazed” and so why not have the nuttiest election system in the country.

We already have the highest tax levels in the GTA, and perhaps the country, the highest Industrial Commercial tax rates in the GTA, and perhaps the country, to scare away good jobs and industrial investment in the city, so why not have this nuttiest election system too.

Our politicians have been writing the training manual on “How Not to Run a City” so why should our election system be the one everyone else uses. That would not be befitting of the city motto, “Prepare to be amazed.”

Mayor candidates Louise Parkes, John Henry, and John Gray have all demonstrated to the public that they are worthy candidates to carry on the ineptness that has characterized city hall.

All three voted to provide you with the General Vote system that has given you the giant impossible ballot with the 70 candidates that has made it impossible for you to be an informed voter.

The city has to live up to the motto, “Prepare to be Amazed” even though Canada’s Supreme Court has said, and even elementary students in democratic nations would know, that an informed public is a basic requirement for democracy to work.

So Parkes’, Henry’s and Gray’s support for this giant, unworkable, and undemocratic ballot does qualify them live up to the “Prepare to be amazed” motto. After all, how could they be Mayor of this city if their actions and their votes to support such a stupid election system did not measure up to the city motto? A vote in support of the general vote showed that their level of incompetence could carry on the many inane actions of this council.

Other incumbents who are running in this election who voted for this general vote with the giant 70 name ballot simply to enhance their own electoral chances were Nester Pidwerbecki, Maryanne Sholdra, and Tito Dante Marimpietri….so certainly they lived up to the city motto, “Prepare to be Amazed” by being more concerned about implementing a “self-serving” electoral system rather than one that serves this city and its voters.

Certainly if the system they voted for was best, it would be used widely across the country rather than only in Oshawa….but then in all ways, we have to live up to the motto, “Prepare to be Amazed!” For their self-serving votes to support implementation of the general vote, they should be defeated.

One of the key components of heading up this council is to show that you have the required level of incompetence to amaze and both Henry and Parkes are showing remarkably well in this regard.

At a recent Mayor’s Forum at the CAW Retirees Hall, a question was asked about how the various mayoral candidates would attract industry and good jobs to this city. Of course, this would be an expected question from the Canadian Auto Workers and their retired brothers and sisters in the hall.

Parkes answered that she would strike up a mayor’s council…a brilliant answer in showing the proper level of incompetence to amaze all those present. With that, she certainly showed that she was in the incompetence park with the present mayor and therefore in the ballpark to become mayor.

Parkes’ answer showed four things….1) She had no idea on how to attract industry and jobs, 2) Being devoid of any ideas of her own, she would ask business leaders how to do her job, and 3) Despite being on council for 12 years, she had no idea that Oshawa’s industrial commercial tax rates were the highest in the GTA and scared away any industry from locating here even if the land was free, and 4) That the basic requirement to attracting industry and jobs to Oshawa is a reduction in our Industrial/Commercial tax rates to make us competitive with our neighbours.

Despite her inane answer, her “plants” in the audience cheered at her call for the Mayor’s Council which must have impressed them. Interestingly at the most recent Mayor’s Forum, she had a plant who screamed out “Stop the Negative Campaigning!” when I mentioned Parkes’ 54% increase in her salary/expense spending in the first three years of her current term with the results not yet in for 2010. I responded, “I may not have your vote madam….but I do believe voter’s do deserve the truth!” This response did seem to receive universal applause, all except the shouter, of course, who probably wilted back into the woodwork a little embarrassed at her outburst and determined not to be “used” again by the Parkes Campaign.

Anyway, any 12 year veteran of council should know that an investor wanting to build a $25M plant would save over $200,000 annually by building a mile down the street in Whitby. Why would an industrialist invest here?

Louise Parkes’ answer to the question was so ludicrous; she must be putting us on. She must have been downplaying her intellect to show the level of incompetence she thought was required to step into John Gray’s shoes.

Not to be outdone, John Henry worked hard to be in the incompetence game.

In his answer to the question on how to attract good jobs and industry here, Henry gave us an analysis worthy of an average grade 8 geography student. As if no one in the room knew, Henry informed us that we had a deep water port, an airport, a major highway, and we were on the main rail line across the country. We also have a skilled work force….”We can build anything and ship it anywhere in the world.” He said. Now don’t you think this is an unbelievable insight into the question? Again, Henry’s “plants” cheered enthusiastically at his astute wisdom.

Henry failed to recognize that Oshawa has had these attributes for the last 50 years and yet we have been steadily losing industrial jobs here. I suppose Henry’s answer demonstrates that nothing has to be done---that Its just a matter of time before industry flocks to our city to take advantage of all of the attributes he mentioned---so if he’s elected mayor, he’ll just sit back and wait for all the magic to happen.

He calls himself a businessman with his little office equipment business…but any business person worth his salt knows that business is about dollars, and yet he didn’t think of reducing the industrial/commercial tax rate to make Oshawa competitive with our immediate neighbours.

John Gray has published his email address as bojogray@primus.ca and it strikes me that bojo might be an apt descriptor for our mayor. With Parkes’ and Henry’s responses to the question of attracting industry to the city, both have indicated that they too are bojos.

At the same meeting, I pointed out that we couldn’t attract any industrial investment and good jobs into this city until our industrial/commercial tax rate became competitive with our neighbours. I did point out that a $25M plant in Oshawa would be taxed at $1.3M annually and just over $200,000 less in Whitby, Ajax, and Pickering….and $875,000 less annually in Markham. Even free land would not attract industry here since costs for the building and the land can be paid off…but the land tax goes on forever. In business, money is everything and no business would locate here when they could save $1M every 5 years by locating one mile down the street in Whitby.

I pointed out that our high industrial tax rates here will lose us all of the jobs, assessments, and investment in this community of the many spin-off industries to locate in the vicinity to use the research facilities, like the giant wind tunnel, at our university. To keep these jobs here where they belong, I pledged to bring our industrial/commercial tax rates for new businesses to competitive levels with our neighbours.

Unfortunately, my idea is just plain common sense and common sense just does not amaze----and thus is not a bojo idea that may compete with the stupid answers by Parkes and Henry. Their stupidity in answering this “jobs” question certainly meets the “Prepare to be amazed” test.

If either wins this election, we will be in for four more years of inept leadership without a vision or plan for the future of this city.

If you want to see a real vision, check out my platform on the site www.wepromise.ca, and also see the candidates I’ve endorsed on my site as worthy of your vote in bringing sensible and business-type leadership to this city to get our economic house in order.

Wish I was like Louise Parkes and John Henry and I could amaze you at the stupidity of my every comment.

Be sure to follow Bill’s radio broadcasts, “Eye on City Hall”,
every Monday, 6-9 pm EST, on http://www.ocentral.com/thewave/

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